THE SERVANT GENERAL
NO ONE IN NEED
January 12, 2014
Today’s reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
This passage from Isaiah is the first of four “Servant
of the Lord” poems. It describes the mission of a servant.
The ultimate servant is Jesus, and Matthew applied this passage
to Jesus (see Mt 12:17-21). Since we are God’s instruments,
it speaks of our mission as well.
passage speaks repeatedly of justice. “He will bring
forth justice to the nations.” (v.1b); “He will
faithfully bring forth justice.” (v.3b); “He will
not grow dim or be bruised until he establishes justice on
the earth” (v.4a); “I, the Lord, have called you
for justice” (v.6a). What is justice? It is giving to
the other person what is his due. And what is due the poor?
It is an equitable share of the goods of the earth, which
God provided richly for all. Indeed, it is “God, the
Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who
spread out the earth and its produce” (v.5a).
servants of the Lord who are sent forth by Jesus to continue
his mission, what are we to do? We are to help bring liberation
to the poor. Our work through the No One in Need
movement (NONe) is intended “to open
the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” (v.7).
We are to help the poor see the poverty of their spiritual
situation, even as they have been groping in a darkened world
and losing their way. We are to help liberate people from
bondage to sin, imprisoned by the enemy, confined in situations
of hopelessness and helplessness. We are to help free people
from darkness and captivity to worldly values, and from being
And so we have launched NONe because we have
heard the call to do a massive work with the poor. “I,
the Lord, have called you for justice” (v.6a). The Lord
has taken hold of us, bringing us to this point where we now
clearly see the call to help build the Church of the
Poor. “I have grasped you by the hand”
(v.6b). The Lord has prepared us through all these years,
teaching us valuable lessons, bringing us high and low, chastising
us, encouraging us, inspiring us, leading us. “I formed
you” (v.6c). The Lord entered into covenant with us,
and led us to adopt a Core Value of Preferential Option
for the Poor, to serve His beloved poor. He “set
(us) as a covenant for the people” (v.6d). The Lord
intends this work to be for the whole world, including enabling
rich people and nations to serve poor people and nations,
by having less for self so that there might
be more for others so that there would be
enough for all. He wants this work to be
“a light for the nations” (v.6e).
Lord has chosen us. The Lord is pleased with how we have responded.
Thus the Lord empowers us with His Spirit to enable us to
do this work of justice. The work is going to be hard and
challenging. When the suffering and pain come, let us be assured
of the Lord’s words to each of us: “Here is my
servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased.
Upon him I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice
to the nations.” (v.1).